Mayor’s column by Coun Anne Jones

AFC Adjutant Captain Tom Whythe, Lt Gen J Bashall CBE, Mayor of the Borough, Lt Col Strickland OBE.
AFC Adjutant Captain Tom Whythe, Lt Gen J Bashall CBE, Mayor of the Borough, Lt Col Strickland OBE.

Three months have passed since I became Mayor, the best job on the planet in my opinion.

One of my recent duties saw me visit the Home and Gift Exhibition, one of the largest hosted at Harrogate Convention Centre bringing considerable revenue to our District. I met exhibitors appearing for the first time and others having visited for 33 years. To a man and woman they were most complimentary about the Borough, especially the floral presentation, and may I say, delighted to have the Mayor take time to engage with them.

Engagement is something that I feel strongly about, hence my instigation of the Business Engagement Event at the Queens Suite in the company of editor Jean Macquarrie, the CEO and Leader of HBC and the Director of the Convention Centre. The purpose, simply to interact with local businesses, to gather views to help with the forward plan. I am assured that this was a first of many future events.

July saw me Chair the Council meeting achieving another first with an all female line-up on the podium. I attended my first Town Twinning meeting and

presented HBC long-service awards that reflected 10, 20, 30 and 40 years of dedication, equal in marital terms to tin, china, pearl and ruby anniversaries.

The securing of cherished Civic silverware for use as volunteer awards in our rural areas resulted in pieces earmarked for Boroughbridge and Pateley

Bridge, breathing new lifeblood into historic items. I had the pleasure of opening a new indie bookshop, marking 50yrs of the Sergeant Pepper album

in the Spirit of ‘67 weekend expertly organised by Graham Chalmers and also celebrated with Madam President of the Law Society at her summer event.

It was a delight to award a 50yr membership badge from the Spa Ladies to Jessie Hall, 95 yrs young. My Deputy and I visited several care homes and I

awarded Graduation and City and Guilds certificates at Horticap. My Consort and I attended our first Gilbert and Sullivan Festival witnessing the best Pirates ever seen and if you didn’t already know; A Policeman’s Lot Is Not A Happy One!

A superb evening and many more compliments about how delighted G and S followers are to have their new home in a town of such floral elegance.

Staying on the floral theme, Tewit Youth Band came up trumps on Yorkshire Day playing as the Champion of Champions judges inspected the floral spectacular. Starbeck In-Bloom pulled out all the stops to create a stunning array for the judges and I opened the Harrogate Allotment Federation show and Starbeck Annual show, each event displaying high calibre entries across many categories and it was an honour to support Harrogate Lions in their

60 years celebration with a pretty flowerbed on Montpellier marking the milestone.

My Consort and I supported the Lord Mayor and Sheriff of York in raising £2,000 at the Assize of Ale, a medieval custom to establish fine quality ale in the City.

The recent celebration of John Metcalf’s 300th birthday AKA Blind Jack saw me christening a Transdev route one bus with his name along with the Mayor

of Knaresborough Cllr David Goode. David and I also celebrated our joint Civic Service, a first of its kind, at St. John the Baptist Church, expertly led by

Rev Bill Snelson and Rev Colin Lake.

The last weekend in July brought the Pateley Bridge 1940’s day, a fabulous community event organised by Nidderdale Chamber of Trade. The Deputy

Lord Lieutenant, the Mayors of Hull, Pateley Bridge and myself all laid wreaths at the War Memorial. One particular day that I shall cherish is the Graduation ceremony at the Army Foundation College when 700 soldiers were on parade, quite a spectacle. I met Chelsea Pensioner Brian Cumming MBE and Arek Hersh, lecturer, author and Auschwitz survivor, it was a privilege and I was humbled.